There is no strict formula for great holiday music — some is about family bonding and good cheer, and some captures regret and emptiness. Traditionalists and heretics both get a fair hearing this season on an array of new holiday albums. The fourth holiday collection from the long-running, soft-saunter, soul-pop outfit Chicago never exults in the holiday spirit; rather, it sidles up to it casually, gives it a nod and a nudge. The vocalist Martina DaSilva and the bassist Dan Chmielinski are two somethings with flexible chops, a gut-level creative connection and an expansive view of the Christmas songbook. But the coercive tension in the tune, such as it was, had as much to do with the prickly, playful give-and-take as the specifics of the language. Which means that even though this version, with Kelly Clarkson, has new lyrics that emphasize her agency and consent, the melody and vocal tones are familiar. The words may have changed, but the push-and-pull is as charged as ever.
Ben Beaumont-Thomas, music editor
Chicago, ‘Chicago Christmas’
Close your eyes and the appropriately named Mellows can take you from lockdown in your home to a mids Manhattan nightclub at 3am. You can also amuse yourself by attempting to hit the high note Kay reaches at the end of the chorus. Air — Casanova 70 Their reputation as the band who launched a thousand interior design show soundtracks overshadows how fantastic Air once were. Casanova 70 is serene, spacey and sexy. Kiki Dee — Amoureuse A French hit — by Veronique Sanson, once the wife of Stephen Stills — translated into English, Amoureuse is one of the great forgotten singles of the 70s, a fabulous, moody epic. Its wistful ambience is really pervasive. The full band appear right at the end, but by then Solid Ground worked its quiet magic. Tender but powerful, it seems unbelievable it languished in obscurity for decades, only really attracting attention after her death. Nora Guthrie — Home Before Dark One of the most wondrous songs ever recorded, the daughter of Woody perches on the precipice of innocence and experience as chamber pop sweeps around her.
Alexis Petridis, chief rock and pop critic
That ended in OP should do the most honest thing possible. I am afraid of what these years ahead could mean to our family; make it or break it. He went out and purchased a promise ring, but was holding off on giving it to me. That is a hard truth.
Do what feels right. Eventually I started feeling the way that you do, though. I wanted to be able to fully share my faith with my spouse, but this expectation was now up in the air. He's in his second year of residency and we're talking about me leaving everything to get engaged and move up with him.